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Football: We should all salute the naked hunger of men born to inspire; OLIVER HOLT ON THE MEN WHO LIT UP THE PREMIERSHIP.

Byline: OLIVER HOLT

THE HEROES of the Premiership this season have been great leaders of men. John Terry and Frank Lampard at Chelsea led by example and carried all before them.

The image of them and the rest of the side swaggering off the pitch at Blackburn bare-chested in deep mid-winter was the kind of picture that makes instant legends.

The men at the bottom, still fighting to the last gasp, have shown great nobility, too.

Bryan Robson has done a magnificent job to give West Brom a chance of survival. Nigel Worthington has behaved with great dignity at Norwich.

Iain Dowie has fought with wonderful energy to keep Crystal Palace alive and Harry Redknapp has dragged Southampton to the brink of safety.

Let's not forget Portsmouth skipper Arjan de Zeeuw. His refusal to retaliate when Bolton's El-Hadji Diouf spat in his face was an almost inhuman act of restraint and professionalism.

Wayne Rooney has had an excellent first season for Manchester United, despite all the unfair criticism that has been levelled at him.

Forget his swearing. What does that matter when you compare it to the goal of genius he scored against Newcastle and his debut hat-trick against Fenerbahce in the Champions League?

Alan Shearer has tried to hold Newcastle together in the midst of another season of self-destruction.

And natural-born Scousers Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have raged against Liverpool's crazy inconsistency.

Across Stanley Park, many feel that Everton boss David Moyes qualifies for the most lavish plaudits.

His feat in taking his team into next season's Champions League marks him out as a quite outstanding talent.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 14, 2005
Words:269
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